Piñen, Daniela Catrileo | The outskirts adhered to the skin

Daniela Catrileo, recenlty winner of Poetry award from Municipalidad de Santiago, goes into detail for the first time in narrative through three sotries in Piñen (Grime in Spanish), vol. edited by Pez Espiral, launched on January the 3rd, 2020. They are furious stories which emerged from the outskirts of San Bernardo, from women voices who grew up playing in dusty squares which dust is adhered to the Mapuche-origin dark skin.

“There are skeins that not only entangle the heart, but bind our tongues forever.”

Regarding the use of language in this book, the choice of the word “piñen” has two reasons. On the one hand, it is a Mapuche word for the earth adhered to the skin. On the other hand, it is a precision of language difficult to translate into a single word in Spanish: it is not dirt or grease or stain, it is earth adhered to the skin. Furthermore, it is a word that permeates the entire country, evidencing the crossbreeding of Spanish that is spoken in Chile.

“The Francisco Pérez told me that he liked to think that there were bad children because in that difference he could be one of the good ones. And maybe then his dad would come back to his mom.”

Think of a girl who tries to figure out the world and can’t find adults with time or education to explain life to her. Think of the cultural poverty that is fought from a study book in a town where the sun hits hard on the heads of teenagers drinking beer in the squares without grass. Think of the secret “games” a father plays with his daughter when he comes home from work. They are paths that become labyrinths for the thinking of a developing person, silences that join the acquired behaviour of women with whom nobody wants to share a seat on the bus, deviant glances in the face of violence that is repeated in every hall of the social housing. From there, a question arises:

Have you seen how the weeds sprout from the dry land?

Questioning is also the title of Piñen’s first story, a call to look at the side of the road that accumulates soil for years until it begins to generate life through plants that no one asked for and yet deliver their blossoming beauty. It’s a parallelism of the young women who grow up on the banks of the capital, forgotten by the authorities, who make their way through the streets looking for light before being pulled up by some indolent hand. Some enter a Catholic school thanks to the sacrifice of a single mother, seeing their neighbors abandon their schooling to give up their existence to the street and their illegal transactions, others travel four hours a day to continue their studies and achieve their dreams: to abandon the marginalization that saw them born. It is a misery where sex education is acquired through pornography or, as Catrileo calls it in her second story, one:

Pornomiseria (Pornmisery)

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The second writing – Pornmisery – is a cross between the story and the short essay that deals mainly with Valeska, the narrator’s neighbour, the girl who day after day has to go into the apartment where she lives with her parents in the evening to “play”. She is the motor that moves the reflection on the suffocating sexualities that do not find correction, on the lack of privacy in the blocks of apartments of the Minvu, where the lack of sexual education causes deviations of behavior that are hidden turning up the volume of the radio to the maximum. Just like in the film El Chacotero Sentimental, the 36 square meter houses do not know about privacy because everything is shared through the thin walls. How long can abuse be hidden in these circumstances? How long can a country look away? Sexual violence sticks like dirt to the conscience, however much it is washed away it does not succeed in cleaning itself and continues to cling to the life of these peripheral Mapuches, these warriors.

“I sat down next to him and we hugged. We cried, we drowned in tears. People looked at us even more strangely. One lady shouted at us: ‘Lesbians, terrorists!’ I dried my tears and shouted back: ‘You old racist!'”

About racism and hybrid is in charge “Warriache“, which is the third story in the book that takes its name from the name of the Mapuche people who live in the city. Not for nothing Catrileo dedicates the publication “to the Mapuchada”, alluding to the popular/peripheral character of the indigenous population in the city. The poet David Añiñir coined a synonym for “warriache”, which he calls “mapurbe” as in “people of the city” or concrete Mapuche, but also displaced Mapuche. How do you preserve your Mapuche identity in the city? What is it like to grow up as a Mapuche woman on the edge of Santiago? Warriache is the testimony of a friendship that grows over time, of girls who become women and face the reality of being settlers and indigenous people.

Daniela Catrileo. Foto biblioteca viva
Daniela Catrileo. Biblioteca viva photo


Daniela Catrileo

Editorial Pez Espiral

70 pages

ISBN 978-956-9147-73-9



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